Saturday, 4 December, 2021

Stop illegal arms trading

Should we be happy or alarmed at the “unearthing” of an arms shop procuring and selling arms illegally right in the middle of the commercial hub of Andarkilla at Chattogram! Both, we guess. It is good that the illegal operations came to light, albeit after six years, for not having any sale records since 2015.  This leads us to wonder, if they had some legal sales, could produce some sale receipts and records, could they have gotten away scot free? That is an alarming thought!

The list of people who bought arms and ammunitions from the shop include elected representatives as well as a union Parishad chairman. Keeping licensed arms for personal safety is not illegal in many countries of the world including Bangladesh. But if under the guise of a legal arms business, a seller procured and sold arms and ammunitions illegally, then it could be difficult to catch them without strict monitoring.

It is not surprising that Cox’s Bazar was the main market of this arms trader, as he admitted to selling arms and bullets to several criminal groups there. This could be behind the recent rise of armed violences in the Rohingya Camps of Cox’s Bazar. World attention was drawn to the matter of violence in the Rohingya Camps with the shooting down in September of Mohibullah Master, a popular pro-repatriation Rohingya leader.

Buying and selling of 2,500 to 3,000 bullets per day, each costing Tk 200 and selling at a profit of four to six times, involves a huge amount of capital turnover every day! When an illegal business is as lucrative as revealed by just one arms dealer, then it is natural for many others to get attracted and involved in it. The illegal arms traders who are doing business without having any legal shops as their front, will be more difficult to catch than the one having a shop at a prominent location. Law enforcers must catch those who are bringing illegal arms into the country and also the traders involved in the buying and selling of them. These are the culprits who are behind the spread and rise of violence and killings in our country.

When senior officials feign ignorance of what is going on right under their nose - then please ask them why they are holding a seat of authority, as ignorance can not be bliss.